Under cover


The second arrondissement was once a bustling business area focused around the Bourse and its stock brokers, the press, and textiles. Enjoy a ramble through its many 19th-century shopping arcades.


Every generation of Parisians and curious tourists for the past two centuries has rediscovered the capital's glass-roofed shopping arcades, perfect for a lover's tryst or a vintage saunter. These ancestors of the shopping mall, inspired by Arab souks and mostly located on the right bank, were much in vogue in the first half of the 19th century, when Paris had neither pavements nor street lights. The new French bourgeoisie flocked there for the shops, theatres, cafés and the capital's first restaurants. To dawdle through the finest of these glass-roofed marvels, head for the 2nd arrondissement.